Nigeria, A Ship Without Course?

Nigeria is faced with a plethora of challenges. This has caused many to even doubt the existence of Nigeria in near future. The problems faced by the nation, seem insurmountable. The article points towards these challenges in a rather new perspective, and how could triumph over them.

If we look back to 1914 and 1960, in contrast with today's Nigeria, one might be drawn to aver that the 'amalgamation' was a curse. And our independence was the beginning of our bondage. How did we get here? A question many Nigerians have left for heaven to answer. In simple terms, one would say Nigeria is in a quagmire, or better still, limbo.

Our dear nation, Nigeria, started off as a promising nation. Even her earliest challenges seemed surmountable in the shortest possible time. Our challenges never deterred anyone from saying, 'Nigeria will be glorious someday.' The founding fathers of our nation were concerned with our fundamental issues. The business was all about national unity, sustained development, and the future of Nigeria. Even at our tenderness, we marveled the whole world. We genuinely loved ourselves. The bond which held the North and South was true and noble. Every Nigerian could boast of a place called home. The greener pasture was right before us.

Many academicians summarize Nigeria's challenges as one, that is, poor leadership. The argument still brushes through 'citizen's lack of patriotism towards nation' since leaders are selected from the citizen population. The argument revolves around whether our problems are solely leadership or citizen lack of patriotism, or both. 

This article attempts to cursorily glance through both perspectives. Firstly, the leadership structure of Nigeria is faulty. The leadership recruitment process, that is, elections, is flawed and, in most cases, does not reflect the will of the people. Primary elections are also left for the one with the 'money bag.' As a result, innocent Nigerians continue to bear the brunt of such democratic hypocrisy. Since 1999, we gradually sank into oblivion.

The bonds which exist between citizens and leaders have been severed. This there have made leaders unaccountable to their followers. It is commonly said that he desires to lead and must first learn to serve. Many Nigerian leaders rather prefer to be served. This is quite evident if we look at the developmental trend of our nation. It has been nearly unnoticeable and slow, except for our population. Sadly, such leaders form the majority. The citizens feed them but are never fed in return. Only a handful of our leaders care for what has been entrusted to them.

The concept of 'political consensus' amongst Nigerian leaders has deteriorated. And as such, it is just not about Nigeria again, but they themselves. It is no longer about national cohesion and unity. Leaders heat up the polity, flee to foreign lands and allow citizens to perpetrate disaster. This has characterized our democratic journey. Democracy without conformity in purpose.

However, we must not neglect our foundational institutions when we talk about leadership in Nigeria with respect to both traditional and religious leaders. In times past and still today, we have seen how these institutions are capable of influencing the trajectory of our nation's political space. To a large extent, some members of these institutions continue to also heat up the polity and mar our national image. Since Nigerians glue dearly to both their religious and traditional lives, bad traditional and religious leaders have negatively influenced their followers. This creates a rift between religious and ethnic groups. And in most scenarios, it is a difficult fire to quench.

In addition, I would not neglect family leadership. It is easy we talk about how bad our leadership structure is in Nigeria. But we say a little about broken families and homes. True, society influences our lives. But many a parent has forfeited their parental duties for their society. And in most cases, they get disappointed by the results. We no longer teach authentic and pure knowledge to our children. Nobody talks about integrity, commitment, contentment, and their likes. It is now about hating one religion or tribe over the other. Where do we arrive at the end of that?

One would quite agree that our citizen circle is influenced by passivity. Sometimes, citizens do not want to really and truly participate in rebuilding Nigeria. We have left Nigeria in the hands of bad leaders to fix. Can a sick man care for another sick man? Certainly not. We must rise to the occasion. We have kept ourselves in the dark for many years. Citizens have quite found it hard to coalesce with one another. A politician uses a few minutes on the media to stir up confusion, but we wage war for days and send ourselves to damnation. We injure ourselves while the politicians sip their wine and navigate the streets of foreign lands. We are no longer toys. Until we get serious about fixing Nigeria, we will never see the Nigeria of our dreams.

From the above deductions, we would see that both leaders and citizens are to be blamed. But the bulk of this blames rests solely on the shoulders of our leaders.

In conclusion, the current state of Nigeria seems to be enveloped in crisis. Both leaders and citizens are yet to genuinely come to a consensus amongst themselves, and dialogue seems to be a distant option. In comparison to a ship, can we then say Nigeria is a ship without course? And do we truly know where we are headed? Like a blind man trying to find his way out of a burning forest, this is the characteristic of our current state. We are right here on the ocean, but we do not know where we are headed yet. To set Nigeria on the course, we must collectively work together to do so. Our challenges are man-made; hence they could be solved by men, by Nigerians.

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